WMG / Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale

Being an adventurer is barely a step up from being a prostitute.
When ever you go into a dungeon, even if you give your adventurer the best possible equipment in the game, they will always have their normal weaponry that they own, even if they are not going to be using it. They don't have a place to store it, like a house, so they just carry it around. Also, look at who is an adventurer.

1. Louie, Average Swordsman, who is always broke.

2. Caillou, who is a Mage. He kinda breaks the mold of a standard adventurer, but then again, he is looking for treasure. Then again, he appears to be doing this for reasons besides "needing the money" (he wants to keep the items in the dungeons out of the hands of the Chapel Masters). On the other hand, it's not entirely clear what the source of magic is in Recettear-land.

3. Charme, the Lady Thief implied to be a princess of a foreign country and had to go into hiding due to a coup. A thief for hire is a better option that being a prostitute. And thieves typically have a good way of getting information about the world.

4. Nagi, the Lance-wielding girl that keeps getting lost in dungeons and is somewhere from the far east (the game takes place in France). She's a foreigner so she isn't going to have a lot of money.

5. Elan, who is show to be really poor, even more so than Louie.

6. Tielle, the Archer Elf. It's stated that there's a lot of distrust (and sometimes outright racism) between intelligent races. She isn't going to have a lot of money.

7. Griff, the Demon Assassin. Obviously, most people are not going to look kindly on someone like him.

8. Arma, the Golem. Has no physical need of food or shelter. Doing this for amusement.

9. Sometimes you will meet Aloeutte in a dungeon (normally Jade Way). If you do see her, you will see that she has a lot of Adventurers, mainly townsfolk. Adventuring isn't their profession, but they are in a rather safe group. Alouette must have just shouted in a crowd that she needed some adventurers who would be well paid and they quickly signed up.

The events of the game are Standard Operating Procedure for the Terme Finance Group; and involves exploiting a "Groundhog Day" Loop.
Someone in the Terme Finance Group has access to a spell that allows for a Ground Hog Day Loop for the Pure of Heart. Only the Pure of Heart meaning, no, you can't cast it on yourself and go gambling; or directly exploit it that way. So, they do the following.
  1. Find someone who owes them money or are too stupid to realize they don't not owe them money. (ie, they can kick out a family member from property seized from the debtor, but said family member doesn't realize that's the extent of it.)
  2. This person is pure of heart (for the spell, plus they don't ask too many questions), dumb as a rock, yet good with numbers.
  3. Send a collection fairy to train them in how to pay the bill back (with interest, of course. This is how loan companies make money.) Include the price of setting up a merchant shop, licensing, etc. and the cost of the "Groundhog Day" Loop spell. Any failure will result in the person waking up at the beginning of the pay period with the recollection that it was All Just a Dream; yet still have their financial pluses. Dumb as a rock people will not actually look at the bill and realize that this is part of the collection plan.
  4. Whether it takes forever or it happens the first time for them; to the outside world the debtor goes from being a loss to a continuous source of profit within a month; with the added bonus of having their main sponsor in the Merchant Guild being the Terme Finance Group. A financial Child Soldier, as it were.
    • Capitalism, ho!

The Terme Finance Group is run by the Tremere
Remember, the Tremere are a band of vampires that formed from a group of Hermetic Magic mages that disappeared. Much of the theme of Recettear is how people and species have to change and adapt. As Caillou points out, secular organizations like the Merchant's Guild are a blind spot to the Church; who disapprove of magic. Now note how high-level Merchants are able to engage in Fusing, which strongly resembles Alchemy...

Recettear serves as either the prequel, or the sequel to Chantelise
  • Art style and the fact that both games were made by EasyGameStation aside, there seems to be some (very vague) links between Recette and the sisters Chante and Elise.
  • This is why Griff comments on humans who have turned into fairies, he was differentiating the one in Chantelise from "native" Fairies.
  • Elan mentions one priest as best example known to him despite his looks and manners... there was indeed one priest like that
  • Shopkeeper from Chantelise mentioned as cook that use strange ingredients but cook excellent food
  • Confirmed; Chantelise, Recettear and Territoire are officially mentioned as sharing the same world

Recette is a Stepford Smiler.
  • Her father's gone, perhaps dead, leaving her in a ton of debt. Initially, she is optimistic, but after seeing the dungeons, the monsters, and the customers, she grows more and more cynical — but she's obfuscating optimism for Tear, because she believes that if she accidentally insults the loan shark by showing what she really thinks of things, the help might stop coming.
  • Despite it being played for laughs; Recette basically abandoned her father to his possible death in the Lapis Ruins. She has no intention of letting him screw this up for her. (Especially cold when we hear him commenting on how he's trying to win Recette's love and respect back.) He DID take out the loan that kicked off her mad scramble to save the house in the first place. She doesn't have a lot of reason to believe he won't make another stupid decision if she rescues him and takes him home. Not only did he take out the loan he couldn't pay off, he ditched Recette, his only child, all alone in their house that he knew could and would be repossessed, leaving her with barely enough money to survive, let alone pay off a debt of close to a million pix. He never said a word about it to her. She'd have been begging on the street if Terme hadn't been so eager to get the full value of the loan back. Plus, to be fair to Recette, he's very close to a Door of Return, meaning he can simply stagger out of the dungeon once he wakes up. She just doesn't plan on helping him, much like he never helped her. Still kinda cold, but hey, she's a kid. They can be petty.

Tear unwittingly became a Hope Bringer
  • Recette starts the game inwardly depressed - she mentions she hated living alone, and with 1000 pix in the bank (which is maybe 5 piece of food), she was a stone's throw from begging. Tear showing up with the item shop idea was a lifeline (since she would have been on the streets in any case), and as she starts making bunches of friends and earning a living through the shop, she becomes as happy inwardly as she always seemed. This is also why she's so fiercely defensive of Tear's motives - even if she is just profiteering on behalf of the debt collectors, she still turned Recette's life around.

Recette's father died in the Lapis Ruins.
He didn't have any backup to carry him to the surface. He was likely operating outside of the Adventurer Guild (hence Terme not being able to find him through records.) There's no path back up, and 20 harder levels down and he had collapsed.
  • Why don't the the golems help him? They know dead adventurers are bad for business, evidenced by thoroughly-lost Nagi going unmolested and providing an insanely expensive medicine at no charge when Tielle forces the player to mortally wound her. He is such a lost cause that the golems gave up helping him. This is why his own daughter denies his existence when she finds him.

Tear was once a human.
Griff mentions (while explaining the true nature of human/fairy relations) that there are humans that are transformed into fairies who are exceptions to how fairies normally regulate who can interact with them. Now, it's heavily implied that Tear's actions aren't standard operating procedure (implying that she doesn't feel too bad about going against her employers), it's stated that she's quite bookish and fussy (while fairies are normally tricksters, even the ones who go out into the world if the others we see are any indication). She's a human (possibly a melee based adventurer who ended up too physically frail to continue and lacked the time to train in magic after the transformation) who ended up transformed into one (maybe deliberately to pay off a debt she accumulated). This would explain how she can operate so independently, given how apparently every Fairy slave has a Magically Binding Contract.

Tear is completely a modern Fairy Companion, which alienated her.
She was born after the change in Fairy Society was implemented. As a child, she accepted and believed in everything that she was being trained to become; so she became a poster-child of the "tamed" fairy. It wasn't until later she discovered that fairies who remember what it was like before despise it. But it was too late, this was the person she had become. This is what the Fairy Race supposedly wanted, but the older ones can't help but indicate their distaste when the humans aren't looking. Ah, post-modern angst. Prime is a free Fairy; Allouette's father freed her. She barely puts up with Allouette because of gratitude to Allouette's father and because it's not a good idea to let people know about her status.

Tear rebelled via Loophole Abuse.
There's a piece of paperwork that Recette has to fill out before Tear's duty to her ends. Tear is simply not telling Recette about it. Honestly, how could Recette have gotten a day without doing paperwork without Tear realizing it? Yet Tear claims in the ending that there were weeks of nothing? She knew. She probably planned right from the start to ensure that Recette never filled out said vital piece of paperwork, as she knew right from the start that Recette, even if she did manage to pay back the debt, would be chewed up and spat out by the world the moment Tear left, as opposed to only realising this after "finding out" that Recette hadn't filled in the paper work, which is what she appears to claim in the cutscene where the not-finished paperwork is discussed. Also, this gives her some level of freedom in the world, since the human she was Bound to has absolutely no concept of commanding anyone. This all becomes much more touching when Tear starts to care more about Recette.

The Dungeons are a means of dealing with the negative byproduct of magical Terraforming After the End.

  • Arma's equipment and the Archdevil indicates that there was a huge war; probably involving robotic Archdevils and Precursors. This would have killed off all life on the planet; however, a process to maintain things was developed and the golems were created to facilitate it. There was one small problem. The magic involved had an Equivalent Exchange that also produced lifeforms based on dark emotions, called monsters. The golems used the same process that created them, so were unable to destroy them. But the golems found that if monsters acquire Life Crystals and treasure; adventurer parties form to kill them to get those things. Creating sufficient life crystals and treasure creates more monsters; but adventurers more than meet the demand.

  • This would certainly explain why Recette is so worried about having hurt Charme, Tielle and Griff after your bossfights with each of them, and yet fails to extend that same courtesy to the endless knights you fight through on the normal dungeon floors, as you would think otherwise that they would be just as worthy of Recette's concern and respect (given that they should, unless the above troper's theory is correct, be ordinary humans). This could also be why our heroes talk to Nagi when they find her wandering around in the dungeons instead of just hacking at her like they do with the knights, as they hear her talking to herself and thus know that she isn't a mindless monster created by (or at least in) the dungeon (this may be something that the Adventurer's Guild teaches all recruits: "If it talks, it isn't a monster.").

  • Tear comments that the Stalked by the Bell monsters that show up if you stay too long on any one level are "manifestations of hate."
  • The Golems reshuffle the dungeons intentionally, in order to prevent The Heartless from accumulating to the point Adventurers wouldn't be able to defeat them. They don't do this to a level if an Adventurer is in it. If the Adventurer takes too long on one level, The Heartless Byproduct starts to accumulate.
  • Also note that Nagi is lost in one of the weaker dungeons with pitiful equipment... It's likely the golems are taking pity on her, knowing she'd get mulched in a harder dungeon with her crappy equipment. She is very much a glass cannon when you first get her. They are KEEPING her lost in the forest dungeon so she doesn't hurt herself too much, knowing how poor, underequipped, and generally goofy she is.

Recettear takes place in the same 'verse as Dept. Heaven
Charme's backstory from the mouth of Alouette sounds a lot like Yggdra's ousting at the start of her game. The Dept Heaven universe is the kind of place were branching possibilities like this (Yggdra stepping up to reclaim her land vs. Charm turning and keeping right on running) can happen on parallel planes of existence, demonkind is strongly repressed, and a large number of people are varying degrees of racist; all elements which dovetail nicely.

Elves have high metabolisms and can consciously boost them further
  • This is why tiny Tielle can subsist almost entirely on sweets (she needs all that sugar) and how she can eat such huge quantities to get them for free. This also the basis for her Cuterage! ability in dungeons - she temporarily overclocks her body, but can only do it for a few moments without risking injuring herself. (Incidentally, this would mean she'd be starving hungry every time you came home from dungeoneering.)

Terme Finance did not repossess Recette's house from the beginning because it would have meant taking a loss on the loan.
When Terme Finance originally negotiated the loan with the elder Lemongrass, they made an error in calculating the value of the house when deciding to accept it as collateral for the loan; either they judged Mr. Lemongrass to be a sufficiently low credit risk that he was deliberately allowed to borrow more than the house's value, or the basis for estimating the value of the house was faulty (because of dramatically changing market conditions, incorrect documentation, or something else entirely), or they made both mistakes. In any way, the result is that simply repossessing the house and reselling it would mean taking a substantial loss, so when Terme hired Tear to act as their collection agent, they instructed her to work with Recette as much as possible to ensure the loan is fully repaid, and that repossessing the house is to be reserved as a last resort. That explains why Tear suggested the item shop idea to Recette, and why Tear is willing to go through a substantial amount of work in assisting with the shop (at least in the beginning, before she cared enough to stay permanently.) It also explains why Tear will readily repossess the house if Recette fails to meet a payment deadline, because whatever money Recette makes reduces whatever loss Terme has to write off, and thus makes repossessing the house a more attractive option.

Recette is aware of the "Groundhog Day" Loop, and is in fact the only one aware of it.
If we assume the 'nice dream' Recette mentions at the start of each loop is actually referring to the previous iteration of the loop (since it follows immediately after each reset), then the existence of the same dialog in the initial day 2 suggests that the player is being dropped into the middle of the loop, rather than at the start. If she can remember previous loops, that would also explain why she's so nice to Charme; since she's already been through enough loops to know that Charme will ally up with her if she invites her over to the shop and sells her a few things. Similarly, Tear *doesn't* remember any of the loops, since she's hostile to Charme in every loop. In other words, Recette is Sans from Undertale.

The people of this world worship candy and other foods.
When people start selling items to you, a high percentage will involve food or candy, and something involing the phrases "treasured this", "told me to hold onto this if I ever got into trouble", etc.

Elan isn't good at this game.
It's not that he's always poor, or purposely doesn't carry a lot of money around... it's that he didn't consult the player's guide, so he doesn't know where the Adult's Wallet is, and he's still using Child's Wallet, that can only hold 1000 pix.

The shop name is deliberate.
  • Recette knows full well what the sign reads like. She can't tell Tear what she thinks of her company and their practices, so she puts it on a sign for all to see and makes Tear sweat over what people think of it.
  • If one uses the pronunciation that sounds closer to RESET, then Recette is also showing she knows she is in a timeloop. See groundhog speculation above.

Recettear takes place in a world which is for some reason almost completely inhospitable to plant life, but people adapted by either evolving or using magic to greatly slow their metabolism.
This is why a dish of curry can be worth more than a suit of armor; that food's hard to acquire but will keep a family fed for a week. Alternately, the people are all tiny and/or food is giant. Anything, that explains why a melon is worth more than a silver breastplate. Other ideas are as follows:
  • It's a damn good melon.
  • In real life Japan, a nicely-boxed watermelon with a bow on top can sell for over 13,500 yen! The Japanese love their fruit, and will pay through the nose for it.

The Groundhog Day loop is not just localized around the Recettear Shop
Caillou mentioned that magical items taken and destroyed by the chapel authorities are appearing in the dungeons. The items aren't being leaked out. They are appearing because a loop occured resetting the item spawns, but the possessors of the items kept the items they had. The church has noticed this and is destroying them under suspicions of foul play.

Taking an item shop salesperson into a dungeon is Tutorial/Easy-Mode for adventurers.
  • They seem to pick up real treasures when they're not with Recette. Having a shielded shopkeeper around is a guaranteed rescue if you get overwhelmed, giving adventurers risk-free levels at the cost of not getting anything but the shopkeeper's fee.
  • Why they never get equipment from these hypothetical solo delves is because they can physically carry less, since they need to wear their gear and bring their own consumables. Between a mildly valuable piece of gear, and a very valuable treasure they can sell for profit and then use only a part of the proceeds to buy the same item, the treasure makes more sense to take home. Other possible explanations include not being entitled to very much pack space (Recette can carry more items in proportion with her prestige as a shop owner, with no explanation apart from red tape) or the golems intentionally not seeding adventurer-only dungeon runs with equipment in treasure boxes to keep the economy stimulated.

The name of Recette's mother rhymes with Fantine.
For the same reason Recette rhymes with Cosette. Also, the Guild Master's real name is Jean. You wouldn't know just by looking at him, but he's an ex-con.

The "mother" mentioned in the ending theme is Tear.
The ending theme mentions giving "a sandwich made by Mother" to "someone who reminds me of Father" (which is probably Louie, or the other adventurers in general.) Except Recette's mother is never mentioned before this, and certainly isn't living with her unless she was hiding in the basement for the entire game and ignoring her child's suffering just as much as the father did. Instead this is a metaphor to show that Tear became like family when she decided to stay at the shop even after the debt was repaid. Alternatively it's just a cute nonsense song that isn't supposed to represent the plot.

The sandwich incident happened during the backstory.
Back when Recette was younger and her mother was alive, she gave her lunch to a homeless fairy she saw in the street. When that fairy got back on her feet and found a position at Terme Finance, she saw that there was a debt against Recette and volunteered for the job in order to secretly help her.

Infant Immortality trapped the world in a time loop.
The "Groundhog Day" Loop isn't caused by Recette losing the game, it is caused by her dying. As noted, she appears to have been days away from starvation. Normally a child's death in this world would eventually be prevented by sheer chance, but for the first time ever there was no hope of a child surviving. Eventually, forces hitherto unknown hatched a plot to save the world by setting the events of the game in motion, probably by making changes to Terme's paperwork to get Tear sent out to keep her alive.

Tear is a Time Lord
Terme Finance is something she made up on the spur of the moment, the paperwork is all psychic paper and the whole story is a scheme to stop a child from dying. The All Just a Dream part is the result of Time Lord hypnosis and Tear's T.A.R.D.I.S.

The whole thing is a conspiracy to revitalise the town
People who buy or sell things that make no sense are simply investing to provide the town with a functional item shop as part of a plan to attract a better class of adventurer to find and spend gold in the town. Recette was chosen for purely sentimental reasons, to keep her from starving (note that the Guildmaster actually gives her free food at the start) and everybody is coming in and shopping to help set up the item store that will eventually play its part in making them all milionnaires.

Recette is a Time Lord
The last thing we see before time resets itself is Recette getting into a box. All that ditziness is a mixture of Obfuscating Stupidity and being from a different world. Her goal appears to be to reform Tear.

Alternative Title(s): Recettear